Generally speaking, US retailers seem to have adapted to Twitter more effectively than their UK counterparts, with some great examples of successful engagement with customers on the site.
Dell and Zappos are two firms that have often been given as examples, but there are plenty of others. For example, Threadless has managed to acquire an impressive 90,000 followers on Twitter by running competitions to design T-shirts.
I listed UK retailers on Twitter last week, and it was hard to get a list together, and many of the big names are missing. Creating a US list has been easier, but if I have missed any, let me know...
Yesterday I detailed my experience of trying to use Twitter as a search engine. It wasn't a good experience.
A lot of people have been trying to define and categorize Twitter lately with minimal success. That's probably due to the fact that Twitter is being used by lots of different people for lots of different things; it's hard to fit it in a neat little box.
Is Twitter a search engine? It's a question a lot of people are asking, myself included.
I signed up for Twitter at the beginning of the year and even though I'm not a hardcore user and only have a modest 'following' of around 225 people, I do like the service. I've found it to be very useful in staying on top of industry trends and seeing what interesting people are talking about.
We live in a maelstrom of activity and invention. A new world we are evolving every day; some days more than others. We sometimes, perhaps more often than we'd like to think, get caught up in the hype or in the detail of what we do. We get stuck on definitions and fads, guidelines and best practice, manifestos and policies.
We also forget about the simple beauty of the medium we work in. This is a personal reflection, indulgent perhaps. But I make no concessions: it sometimes good to take a step backwards and reflect on what we've got now and what's in front of us.
Most of us remember the Million Dollar Homepage. Launched by
then-21-year-old Alex Tew, the idea was simple: sell a homepage
containing 1 million pixels for $1/pixel.
As might be expected, the reaction to the simple yet clever idea was
mixed. Some thought it was brilliant, others thought it was stupid.
I wrote a post last month called ‘Why should brands own their own social media profiles’, where I called out Coca Cola for not bothering to sign up for @coke and @dietcoke on Twitter. But there's a bit more to it than meets the eye.
Earlier today, I spotted a note on Twitter by Rory Brown that simply said: “I really like the concept behind @answers. Mahalo may have a winner there.”
Mahalo Answers was launched in mid-December 2008 as an extension of Mahalo, the human-powered search engine. It’s like Yahoo Answers and LinkedIn Answers, and it works well. It even uses Twitter as a capture and response channel: you can ask questions and receive replies via Twitter. It also automatically posts questions asked via the website to Twitter. In short, it’s excellent.
Business models aside, Mahalo might have a winner in selecting 'answers' as its Twitter username.
I was asked the other day what I thought about Skittles' social media experiment and whether it would have lasting effects.
My response: I wasn't sure. The buzz seems to have died down. Certainly it's nowhere near the pitch that it was when we all first learned that Skittles.com had been turned into Twitter.
This social networking thing is gonna be big, man. Really big. Bigger than email.
A confirmation of the absolute "big bang" expansion theory of social networks came from Nielsen Online today. Its "Global Faces and Networked Places" report shows that by the end of 2008, 66.8 percent of internet users across the globe accessed “member communities” last year, compared to 65.1 percent for email.
Twitter has many uses for our business beyond sending us traffic and spreading word about our articles, research and events.
While it is now our fourth-largest referrer, Twitter is more than simply a people hose. By tuning in to tweets we listen to user feedback, which helps keep us on our toes. It is useful in a wide number of areas, some of which I have listed below.
Some recommendations and questions are easier to deal with than others, but we certainly take note of all of them.
Having looked at the use of Twitter by charities in the UK, and being impressed by number of organisations that have used it to promote their causes, I've decided to take a look at how many retailers are using the service.
There are some great examples of companies using Twitter in the US; Zappos has used it to communicate with customers and for marketing purposes, while Dell says it has made $1m in sales from using Twitter.
So how many UK retailers have signed up for a Twitter account?